Why is the Dales Pony Breed Standard specific about Bone Measurement?

When considering a pony’s conformation, what we really want to know is whether the legs are stout enough to bear the pony’s weight. It has become traditional to use a standard measurement (bone-tendon circumference) as the indicator of the “amount of substance” in the limbs.

The Dales Pony was expected to be both a comfortable riding animal and strong enough for draught work thus the breed standard was defined to meet these criteria.

The preferred height range for a Dales Pony is 14.0 hands (142.2 cms) to 14.2 hands (146.2 cms). Ponies in this range are normally between 700 lbs (318 kilos) to 880 lbs (400 kilos).

The standard states that the cannon bone should display 8 to 9 inches (20.3 to 22.9 cms) which considers the amount of tendon at the position at which the measurement is made.  Research has shown that 8 inches of bone can support up to 1,000 lbs (454 kilos), so the breed standard is well within the desired range for a medium sized pony.

The measurement is taken at the point, just below the knee, where bone tendon circumference is least.